Written by The Business Journal Staff
Matthew Mingrone, General Manager
Eagle Mountain Casino
What we do: Indian gaming.
Education: Bachelor of business administration from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio – Class of 1989
Family: Engaged – 4 children
Matthew, tell us a little about your career leading to your recent promotion to general manager of Eagle Mountain Casino.
I’ve been in the gaming industry for the past 24 years. I’m originally from Pennsylvania and got my start in Lake Tahoe. Over the course of my careers, I’ve worked at 10 casinos, with 5 being Native American casinos. I started as a front desk clerk / concierge and moved in to marketing management. I’ve worked all across the country, specializing in marketing and sales, but have always been involved in the overall operational day-to-day functions.
What are your duties as a casino general manager, Matthew?
I like to think that my main job as Eagle Mountain Casino’s general manager is to be best team leader I can be. To always be on the lookout for ways to improve our guest’s and team member’s experience.
Describe the Eagle Mountain Casino experience to folks who may have never visited before.
We’re a full-service casino with fantastic food, fun promotions and great headline entertainment. We do all of this at a “value proposition.” Our guests know that we offer the best prices around for all of our products/services, whether it is the frequent payouts on the casino floor, the generosity of our player’s club, the low ticket prices for our headline entertainment or even the affordable prices at our restaurants. Our guests are “value conscious” so we make sure that we always offer a great time at a great price.
How has the casino enriched the lives of the Tule River Indian Tribe, Matthew?
The tribe has been fortunate enough to receive an annual distribution that has enhanced the livelihood of its members and brought a quality of wellbeing to family. It has provided stable employment which in turn has provided a better quality of life and self-sufficiency. The tribe has also set their education program as a top priority, as it enables and enriches the lives of its future generations. In doing so, this program provides an after school study program, tutoring service and full ride college scholarships.
Other use for gaming revenues include tribal government operations or programs, the general welfare of the tribe and its members, economic development, charitable organizations, operations of local government agencies and the above mentioned per capita payment.
Has the closure of Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold (two hours to the north) had any impact on Eagle Mountain Casino, Matthew?
First of all, it is a rather sad situation and our hearts go out to the employees and the tribal members that have gone through this traumatic experience.
It really hasn’t affected us at all. The only positive might be that guests and potential guests might see or hear our advertising a little more with less ads cluttering the media.
What are some of the community causes that Eagle Mountain Casino supports, Matthew?
Aside from tribal causes, casino revenues also go toward businesses and non-profits throughout the Tule River community as well as neighboring cities in Tulare, Kern and Fresno counties. Thousands of dollars have been given annually to recipients such as The Wounded Heroes Fund, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bakersfield Homeless Shelter, American Cancer Society, Ruiz 4 Kids, St. Jude, Habitat for Humanity, Knights of Columbus, Porterville Adult Day Services, Helping Hands of Porterville, Tule River Scholarship Fund, Honor Flight for Kern County, Relay For Life, Wounded Warriors Project, California State University of Bakersfield, Tulare County Fair, Family Services Justice Run and the Tule River Education Center.
Though we are a smaller gaming venue than surrounding Indian casinos, we pride ourselves on being able to give back generously to our local communities.
What is in the future for Eagle Mountain Casino, Matthew?
Our future is bright! We will continue to offer the best value for our guests’ and potential guest’s disposable income. We strive to always provide the most enjoyable guest experience as well as being an employer of choice.
What are your roots in the Central Valley, Matthew?
I’ve lived here for 5 years and I plan on staying here until I retire with my soon to be wife.
What was the best advice you ever received, Matthew?
To always try your best at everything you do. Never do anything “half-way.” If it’s not worth your best effort than why are you doing it?
What was your very first job and what did you learn from it, Matthew?
I was a sales associate at the Gap when I was in high school. I remember learning about the importance of interacting with customers and co-workers. Not only can it make or break the company financially, but also personally in your enjoyment of your work life.